"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Wanda and I would like to wish all of you a very special Thanksgiving.

The Thanksgiving holiday period has always been my favorite time of the year.  Fall is usually still hanging around with moderate temperatures and clear blue skies.  The trees haven’t lost all their color and it is a great time of year to be outside in the Deep South.

The holiday also brings back great memories of times gone bye.  When I was young, our family lived on what was the old home place.  Thanksgiving brought family back home from those faraway places like Baton Rouge or New Orleans.  It was something I looked forward to all year.  The men and boys would go hunting for squirrel, rabbits, and quail.   There were no deer in our area.   A dozen folks and a pack of yard dogs.  Lots of hunting with little killing.  We would spend Thanksgiving morning in the woods, returning home just in time to clean up and have dinner.

All the time we were in the woods, the ladies were preparing the Thanksgiving meal.  A turkey from the yard, with a dishpan of dressing; along with chicken and dumplings.  Ham and potato salad.  Greens, butterbeans, peas, sweet potato’s, macaroni and cheese, roast in gravy, corn casserole, the list could go on. Cornbread and biscuits.  Cakes, pies, and fruit ambrosia.  Most everyone sitting around the yard afterward, talking about the years events while the younger ones played a game of football.
Though all the older ones are now gone, we still get together each Thanksgiving .  My brother lives there now; and tomorrow the menu will be about the same.  There will be four generations present, giving thanks for the blessings we have received this year.  Hopefully the younger ones will be making memories even better than mine.

Happy Thanksgiving…….jc

Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Veteran’s Day Short Story.


Written by Marshall Ramsey, a columnist of the Jackson, MS Clarion Ledger newspaper.  A heartwarming, but sad story that I thought was worth sharing.  As the story says, many  have no clue what those few that still walk among us have sacrificed to protect the lifestyle we enjoy today.

‘The Final D Day’

“On June 6, 2011, in the corner of an unremarkable nursing home, sat a forgotten man who was desperately trying to forget.

Joseph looked around at the room; it was a cloudy blur. Cataracts were taking his one last good sense from him. He did know the room was full of women. Old, gossipy women, if you asked him. He was the only man in the room and a source of much of their gossip. It was enough to bring a smile to his weathered face. “I would have killed to be in a room full of women when I was 20.” He rolled his wheelchair over to the window and looked out at the mountains in the distance. He loved the East Tennessee Smokies. The mountains faded to black as he closed his eyes and drifted off. He had killed when he was 20.

Explosions rocked the airplane. His C-47 Dakota, the military version of the venerable Douglas DC-3 two-engined transport, had caught fire. The Germans apparently did not want company. It was June 6, 1944 — D-Day as General Dwight D. Eisenhower had called it when he spoke to him and his fellow Rangers. They were in the 101st Airborne, the Screaming Eagles, and today was the first day of the end of Adolf Hitler’s reign over the continent of Europe. Flak tore through the front of the aircraft, killing a private who had been throwing up just seconds earlier. He looked away from the blood and out the window to see the right engine was flaming. Not a good start to the day. Suddenly an explosion...

The old man woke up. Dorothy Snodgrass had dropped her tray, causing the young orderlies to scurry like ants. To the workers at the nursing home, he was just an old man, a crumbled relic of humanity. He looked out at the mountains again and could see shapes in the clouds. That one reminded him of the Eiffel Tower. Ah, the day he helped liberate Paris. He could smell the sweet smell of perfume in the air. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and tasted the lipstick of the young French girl who had planted her lips on his.

A young worker tapped him on his shoulder. “Time for your pills, old timer.” The man looked at the 24-year-old. The kid knew nothing about sacrifice. About pain. About losing everything and gaining ultimate victory. The kid shoved three pills into his mouth and gave him a drink of water. “Swallow these and I’ll go get you some lunch.”

Lunch. Mush or whatever the mystery gruel of the day was. Sigh. He remembered his first meal at the German cafe in Berchtesgaden. The taste of the beer. The softness of the bread. The fraulein who served him. Blonde. Busty. He closed his eyes again and his mind drifted off.

More explosions. He floated down into Hell. The C-47 was on fire, lighting up the inky black of the Normandy sky — they had to jump early. Lord only knew where he was about to land. He looked over at his captain. Tracer fire ripped through the captain’s body, causing it to burst into a cloud of red vapor. What was left of his body plummeted to the ground. The Germans weren’t playing. He was jolted to his senses as his legs hit the ground. More explosions went off around him. ...

A door had slammed. The man lifted his chin so the young man could wipe the food off of it. How embarrassing. How could a warrior like him end up in this place?

He rolled over to a dark corner, forgotten, and closed his eyes once again. This time there were no explosions; he just saw his former comrades. They were coming out of the light, surrounded by fog. There was Lefty. There was Sarge. There was Jimbo. All had perished in the Battle of the Bulge. The captain came and grabbed his hand. “Get out of that chair, soldier,” he commanded. The man could walk for the first time in years. He walked arm and arm with his buddies into history.

His war was over. His victory had finally come. It was his final D-Day.”

Be sure and Thank a Veteran, today!!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Whew! I’m glad that’s over.


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The election, that is.  Please, this is not a political post, and if you feel led to comment let’s keep the politics out of them.  It’s just that I’m so tired of having to listen to all the rhetoric on television, the phone calls, and the general us versus them mindset that has been created by all the “media”.

Did I vote?  Yes.  Did my guy win?  No.  Am I surprised?  No.  Will I dwell upon for the next four years?  No.

Before  we started traveling the Country, I assumed most everyone “like” us; that being Caucasian, blue collar, Christian, retired, traveling with an RV, etc.; had the same philosophies as I did.  Was I ever wrong. 

You see, it goes back to our little worlds we live in daily.  We have a group of folks that we circulate within.  We attend the same church’s, our kids attend the same schools, we have similar jobs within the community, and we mostly had the same upbringing.  Our philosophies, which were formed by the time we reached adulthood, are mostly the same. 

It’s when you get out of your circle, in a different part of the Country, for instance, that you find that there can be someone just “like” you with a completely different philosophy.  This was brought to my attention at a campground in rural Texas, of all places.

The votes speak for themselves.  Apparently a majority of American voters have a different philosophy than I do at the present time.  That may change in the next four years, but for that period of time we will continue with the present administration.  He’s America’s President, which makes him my President.

Whatever our leanings, I think there is one thing we could all agree on.  May we all pray that He and our other leaders receive the wisdom to do what is best for America.

On a lighter note, there’s not much happening around home that’s blog worthy.  There probably won’t be many posts for a while.  Things will pick up when we once again hit the road…jcSmile

Monday, November 5, 2012

N’awlins for the night!


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After a week at home getting a few of those honey-do projects accomplished, we were already thinking about the next road trip.  Friends invited us to accompany them to New Orleans for an evening of food and fun.  So, we left the EGG at home, and traveled down with them shortly after lunch on Sunday.  Chef John Besh has a number of fine restaurants in or near the French Quarter.  One of those is LUKE in the central business district.

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You enter through the bar and pass by vistas of seafood and oysters.

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From the bar, you are taken upstairs and seated near the kitchen where the short order items are prepared.  Most of the appetizers and sandwich type items are prepared right before your eyes.

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But, we weren’t there for short orders.  Once every month or so the LUKE puts on a specialty dinner consisting of four or five courses.  Last nights dinner was centered around oysters and duck, two favorite ingredients of Louisiana cuisine.


We were seated at a table with eight other guests which we didn’t know at the beginning of our dining experience.  By the time it was over two and a half hours later, it was like we had known each other for years.

The dining started with two towers of oysters on the half shell.  Louisiana oysters, along with others from Florida and Puget Sound in Washington.  Awesome.

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From that point the camera got put away and sorry to say, not another photo was taken.  We had food this country boy had never seen before.  More appetizers of something sitting on rounds of French bread.  Garden salads followed by an oyster and duck dressing.  Then both stuffed duck and roast duck with dressing.  Other things between the main dishes that I can’t even remember.  Way too much food, but it was a great evening with friends, old and new.  And, the best thing was the price for the evening.  Very reasonable for such a dining experience.

As we definitely didn’t want to make the drive back home after such a feast, we had reserved a couple of  hotel rooms just a block or so from the restaurant.  Monday morning found us walking the edge of the French Quarter looking for a breakfast place.  Though it was early on a Monday, the street artists were getting set up and the crowds were already growing around Jackson Square.

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We settled for a nice restaurant right on the square with a view of the Cathedral.

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I’ll let the breakfast plates speak for themselves.  Some of us couldn’t wait for the photo’s to be taken.

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Top left, to bottom right.  Corned beef hash, Eggs Benedict with fried oysters, Country breakfast, and Banana’s Foster French toast.  That’s vanilla ice cream in the small cup with the bananas.  What can I say, it’s New Orleans food at its best.

After all that, we spent some time just walking around the area. 

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You never know when you might find something you just can’t do without.

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By ten or so, the sidewalks were getting crowded.  There’s always a crowd at CafĂ© Du monde, twenty four-seven.

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It was time to head for home.  The subject of Lunch never came up.  I don’t think we will be having much for supper, either…..jc